Turkey warns oil firms against drilling around Cyprus

Agreement between Turkish, Greek Cyprus required for oil exploration around island, says Turkish parliament speaker

Turkey warns oil firms against drilling around Cyprus

Turkey’s parliament speaker on Thursday warned oil companies against any activities around Cyprus island before an agreement is reached between the two sides of the disputed island.

Speaking in the Aegean province of Izmir, Binali Yildirim stressed that an agreement must be struck between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot administration before any submarine resources in the island’s vicinity, including its exclusive economic zone, could be extracted.

Yildirim was addressing a ceremony marking the 40th service anniversary of Turkey’s first scientific research vessel.

"This is a breaking point," he said, adding that large oil companies drilling in the area must "mind their steps" on it.

Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean have caused friction between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration. 

Earlier in 2018, the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally launched exploratory drilling activities for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean despite strong opposition from Turkish Cypriots, who argue that the island's natural resources should be exploited jointly to ensure equal rights for both parties.

Yildirim stressed that Turkey would not refrain from immediately responding to any attempts against interests of its own or the TRNC in the region. 

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

The status of the island remains unresolved in spite of a series of discussions that resumed in May 2015.